The Green Girl
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by Jack Williamson
Category: Science Fiction
Description: Love transcends. This doesn't hold truer than in this pulp classic by Jack Williamson. Melvin Dane has been seeing a vision of a green girl since he was a child. Images of her came over the ether. Is she just fantasy? Or a reality that managed to cross time and space? And now, with the Earth under threat of extinction, will Melvin ever meet that girl of his dreams? With an alien force trying to bring Earth back to the Ice Age, Melvin and his foster father, scientist Sam Walden, embarked on a heroic quest to save their world. Their adventures took them from their sleepy little cottage in the beaches of Florida to the unexplored and totally unexpected world beneath the ocean. There, Sam and Melvin find what they are looking for, and more. Sam meets the alien force trying to kill humanity, and Melvin meets the love of his life, the one girl he has been dreaming of since he was a child. In their quest for redemption for the Earth they call home, both of them would find the love that would change their lives forever. Sam has made a machine that can travel anywhere--in land, air, and water--and based on Sam's calculations, they trace the alien force to somewhere in the Magyar Deep, 50,000 feet into the ocean. Deep below, they find an alien world, full of strange creatures, and stranger vegetation. In their quest to find and end the hostile power, Sam and Melvin meet creatures that would change their lives. Melvin would finally meet the Green Girl, a vision he has been seeing since he was a child, and Sam would find companionship and love with a pet, a flying plant that he named Alexander. Together, the four of them would decide the fate of two worlds.
eBook Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks, LLC/Wonder eBooks, Amazing Stories
Filament eBookStore Release Date: August 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [181 KB]
Reading time: 113-159 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
MAY 4, 1999
At high noon on May 4, 1999, the sun! It had risen bright and clear. The summer sky had had an unwonted liquid brilliance. The climbing day-star had shone all the morning with unusual intensity. But just at ten o'clock, an intangible mist obscured the sky! A pale and deepening film stole over the crystal infinity of the heavens! The sky assumed a dull, almost copper tinge, that developed into a ghastly scarlet pall! In five minutes the sky changed from a soft and limpid blue to an intense, darkling scarlet! In the appalling suggestion of blood in the dusky crimson depths, there was a grim omen of the fate of earth!
I had got up at dawn for a plunge in the surf, and all the morning I had been wandering about the bit of beach and the strip of virgin woodland behind it, content in the restful, soothing peace of that untouched bit of Nature, rejoicing lazily in the vivid greenness of it, in the fresh odors of earth and plant, in the whisper of the wind in the palms. I lounged on the crisp grass in the cooling shade, living in my sympathy with the life about me, watching the long soft rollers of the green-blue Atlantic surging deliberately toward the crystal whiteness of the sunlit sandy beach. The soft cerulian skies were clear, save for the white wings of occasional airships that glanced in the bright sunshine. The morning had a singularly quiet and soothing beauty. My sleepy soul was in harmony with the distant mellow chime of a church bell. I lay back in the peaceful rest of a man ready to sink lazily into the evening of life.
Though I am still an able man of somewhat less than thirty years, I felt that morning none of the energetic exuberance of youth. I felt something of the age and the agelessness of Nature herself. I felt no fires of ambition; I was oddly devoid of feeling or emotion; I felt content to steep my soul for eternities in Nature's simple wonders. But I have always been a dreamer.
I was a worshipper come unknowingly for the last time to the shrine of life. For even then the doom was gathering! But I was spared all knowledge of the alien menace that was blotting out the sun! I had no premonition that within a few short hours the balmy Florida coast would be a frozen wilderness, whipped with bitter winds and lashed with freezing seas!
I had risen at last, and was sauntering down the hard white sand in the direction of our cottage, listening idly to the birds--singing on the eve of their doom. I came in sight of the house, a low building, covered with climbing vines and half hidden in the trees. I strolled toward it upon the narrow, curving gravel walk, lost in the peace of the rustic setting.
The Doctor was sitting on the small veranda, gazing sleepily out over the sea, with his pipe in his mouth and his hands on the arms of his chair. Dr. Samuel Walden was the sole person in the world, outside the vivid creations of my dreams, for whom I had affection. He was an unusual character. Born in 1929, he was now seventy years of age. His earlier life had been devoted to science, and he had won fame and fortune for himself by the invention of the hydrodyne sub-atomic engine. But in the last twenty years he had done no scientific work--or so I thought, for I had never been behind the little door that he kept always locked.
A close friend of my parents, he had been more than a father to me since they were lost in the turmoil of the last outbreak against the Council of Nations, when I was three years old. We had always lived in the old cottage on the hill, in this natural park on the Florida coast. He loved Nature deeply. For many years his chief interests in life had been plants and animals, for which he cared more than for society. A flower, a dog, the sound of the surf--such things were the joys of his life.
Though his hair had been white for many years, his lean, tanned face was unwrinkled, and he was among the strongest men of my acquaintance. In fact, two years before, he had won second place at the Olympic wrestling contests. He loved the simple things of life. He had a passion for cooking, and he made it a science as well as an art. He was an inveterate smoker, and clung to the habit, even when he had to have the tobacco smuggled in from Asia at vast expense. He had an old music box, of a type that went out of date half a century ago, to which he used to listen for hours on end.
There was little enough about Sam Walden's daily life to show that he was the greatest scientist of the earth, and the sole hope for the world in the amazing battle that was brewing. His simple philosophy had changed him far from the energetic young inventor of the hydrodyne. No one would have suspected the qualities of supreme heroism that he revealed.
During the days of my youth we had restlessly wandered over the globe. We had lived rather aimlessly--for the simple joy of living. The mountains, the desert, and the sea have always had a fascinating call for both of us, and we wandered in answer to that call--and during some of those years, I traveled on a strange quest of my own.
But it was a whole decade since we had left our rustic home. And as our latter years had been quiet and tranquil, so the world had lost the fierce energy and struggle for advancement, that had driven it during Sam's younger days. It had settled down to the enjoyment of peaceful content. Science had turned from the invention of new machines to the improvement of those in existence, and had died with their perfection, until, when the crisis came, Sam was the only man on earth able to understand and to cope with it!
The industrial organization had been perfected. Work was done by machines. Men attended them for short hours and played through long ones. There were no rich, and no poor. The products of industry were fairly divided. All men received their shares in content and enjoyed them to the full, without troubling themselves about the question of science or religion or of life that had received the attention of the past generation.
And upon the peaceful tranquility of that happy, prosperous age, there fell with no warning the lurid doom that no man could explain, throwing it into frenzied confusion. In the past era, there would have been a thousand men to attack the problem, with all the power of clear, dynamic minds. Now, there was just one man who could understand!
It was not so much that scientific knowledge was lacking. Men still studied and talked the language of science. The machines demanded it. But there were none of trained and penetrating minds, used to departing boldly from the world of the known to bring forth the new. Science was no longer living. It was mechanical.
* * * *
THE RADIO GIRL
I have said that I am a dreamer, living more truly in my fancy than in the world. Perhaps my imagination is abnormally developed. Always I have had new worlds awaiting me in my dreams, to which I could retire when life was dull or unattractive. My visions have always had a singular reality, such a definite concreteness, that it sometimes seemed to be the truth.
The old wonder stories of Wells and Verne, and of the pseudoscientific writers of the first part of this century have always appealed to me. I had a vast collection of ancient volumes and tattered magazines, full of those old stories, which I read and reread with passionate interest. The rest of the world had forgotten them with the passing of the age of science, but I found in them the priceless food of fancy.
Psychologists say that many children have dream companions of some kind. They are very real entities of the child's imagination, playmates of fancy. They usually fade and are forgotten as the adolescent child becomes absorbed in the activities of life, and the imagination atrophies.
Since the days of my earliest recollections, I have visited in the world of my dreams a wonderful playmate. It is a girl, with dark brown hair, deep, warm violet eyes, and clear skin, so I thought, slightly tinged with green, though the lips were very red. I have always thought that she was very beautiful, and she has always been very real to me.
And the vision did not fade as the years went by! Still I visited the Green Girl, as I called her, in my fancy, and she replaced many of the normal childhood interests that I might have had. It is because of her that I have always been happiest while I was silent and alone, it is because of my dreams that I have been inclined to avoid the society of others.
The strange world of dreams in which I visited her was very real to me, a place of weird wonders, sometimes of alien terrors, in which the Green Girl and I wandered through interminable, astounding adventures. And I have always had an unaccountable persuasion that it was a real world, somewhere, through which my mind roamed in such delightful fancies!
It was twenty years ago, when I was just five years old, that the Green Girl first came into my dreams. Sam had rigged up, for my edification, an old fashioned radio set, with headphones. In the long, lonely silences of the warm Florida nights, when a less indulgent guardian would have had me in bed, I sat up with those old phones on my ears, exploring the ether, feeling near the infinite mystery of space. I listened with childish intentness to the odd noises of the static, eagerly dreaming of calls from other planets.
It was during one of those long still nights that I first entered that world of fancy, and found--the Green Girl! It seemed that I heard first a cry of delight in a silver voice, and then she was with me. She was but a tiny sprite, smaller than myself. She seemed to stand before me, smiling at me, tossing her dark curls, with the light of bright intelligence in her blue-violet eyes. I loved her from the first. She was very beautiful. Her skin had just a tinge of green, like a tinted photograph; it did not seem a strange color. The vision was very real to me.
When she spoke--and I half imagined her words were really coming over the ether--there was a childish lisp in her voice, but still a ring of confidence and courage. Her words were strange, but I soon grew to sense their meaning, almost by intuition. Night after night, when I put on the phones and tuned in on the strange noises of the ether, that vision came back. It was not long before I could speak that strange tongue as fluently as I could speak English.
With childish reserve, I told Sam nothing about my wonderful dream, until one day he heard me chattering in the language I had learned. He questioned me eagerly; and I shyly told him all about it, and even supplied material for a grammar of the language. He took a keen scientific interest in the matter, when he learned that the vision came only over the radio, and he began to formulate theories of telepathic suggestion and mind control by ether waves.
The matter was written up by a prominent psychologist to whom he reported it. The account appeared in a well known scientific magazine, with comments upon the strange language, which, oddly enough, bore not the slightest similarity to any known tongue, and appeared rather too perfect to be credited to the invention of a five-year-old. The writer mentioned Sam's ideas, that I had established telepathic contact with another planet, or perhaps with the far-distant past or future; but theories of mind reading received little welcome in a day when science was dormant, and even the suggestion that the language, because of its simplicity, power, and labial beauty, would become the long-sought international tongue, was soon completely forgotten.
But I did not forget the Green Girl. The conviction grew upon me that she was a real living entity. To find her became my ruling passion. Under Sam's tutelage I poured over geographical accounts, searching in vain for some clue to a hidden nation. But the fact that the language seemed to have no sister tongue on earth discouraged that. Between my tenth and fifteenth years Sam and I restlessly scoured the globe in search of a clue, but a decade before we had given it up.
I turned to dreams of interplanetary travel, with a passionate desire to explore space and venture to other worlds in search of my dream girl; but the space flier seemed as far in the future as it had done a hundred years before. To please me, however, Sam helped design and construct a model of a machine we called the Omnimobile--because it should be able to travel in all elements.
But, as the years of my early manhood passed, I slowly relinquished all hope of finding the Green Girl in fact, and resolved to content myself with her companionship in fancy. It was then, too, that I developed my inordinate fondness for scientific romances which I devoured insatiably to feed my dreams. It was only during the first few years that I could find her only over the radio. As time went by, she became an inseparable companion of my mind.
Once, for a time, I tried to lose myself in science. I had Sam teach me chemistry, but that could not replace my dreams.
Together, the Green Girl and I went through ten thousand fantastic adventures. It was as if our two minds met in the world of dreams jointly created by both of us. Certainly it was influenced by the incidents of my life, and by the wonder tales I read. And the girl told me stories, strange and thrilling narratives they were, of mythical heroes of her race that struggled with weird terrors.
She grew up with myself, until she became a princess of incomparable beauty. Often I have wished that I were a gifted painter, that I might have tried to record her charms, but even if I had been such, her perfection would have discouraged my efforts. She was slender, erect, combining an unconscious dignity of poise with vivacious spriteliness of manner. Her hair was soft and curly and brown. Her pale green skin was very soft; her full lips very red. And her sparkling violet eyes were clear and honest--bright wells of human sympathy.
Could I believe that such a supernal being was merely a dream?